Benefits of Buying Verse Renting

There comes a time when buying a home becomes more practical then continuing to rent.  Right now the market is at a point where renting is actually more expensive monthly than buying.  Renting has a few benefits that buying doesn’t but instead that if you are interested in buying a home now is a great time to enter the market.  Here are five questions to ask yourself when narrowing down your homeownership goals:

  • What type of home situation best meets your needs?

There are a variety of residential home styles to choose from when you are looking to purchase. Consider all of your options including: traditional style single family homes, duplexes, townhouses, condominiums, co-op’s and multi-family buildings.  There are pros and cons of each and depending on your homeownership goals at the moment will help establish the style of home you should focus on finding.

  • What are must have features you are looking to have in a home?

When buying a home there are certain features that are must-haves, some that would be nice and some that are downright unnecessary but would be a dream.  Create your own list and make sure that it offers a bit of flexibility.  You deserve a home that offers you exactly what you want!

  • What type of mortgages do you qualify for?

Before you hire a realtor meet with a mortgage broker to determine how much you can pre-qualify for and what types of mortgage options are available for your current situation.  Knowing how much a lender will lend will give you a starting point on the price range of homes you should be focusing in on.  Before you begin searching for a mortgage or home get your personal finances in order.  Make sure your credit is in order, you have a solid history of paying your bills on time, substantial savings and a maximum debt to income ratio of no more than thirty six to forty three percent.

  • What amount can you afford to take on monthly?

Another thing to consider after finding out how much a lender will lend is how much you actually feel comfortable paying each month.  Consider the amount of the mortgage, interest, insurance along with utilities and other monthly bills you have.  You will want to be comfortable with the amount that you will be spending each month.  The last thing you want is to be house poor without any money to spare each month.

  • What does your savings account look like?

In order to purchase a home it is important to have a down payment, closing costs and money for the incidentals that will arise after you move in.  Take time to build up a substantial savings before you get serious about looking to find a home of your dreams.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Helpful Tips For Buying Your First Home

Purchasing your first home comes with many trials and tribulations.  In the first year after closing there are many valuable lessons to be learned.  Here are some things to think about as you begin the process of going from renting to buying.

Think About The Future:  When buying your first home it is easy to get caught up.  At the time you can’t imagine that you will ever need to sell this home you are about to start building your future in.  This however can’t be further than the truth.  The truth is the first home you purchase will most likely not be the last one you purchase.  No matter where you are at or what stage you are at it is important that you take into consideration how difficult it will be to eventually sell when you are ready for the next step.

Checklist:  When you are purchasing your first home, second or third, you will find it is quiet an emotional process.  It is quite possible to overlook things when your emotions start to take over.  Before starting your adventure into buying your first home create a checklist of must-haves, nice-to-haves and other essentials.  Print the list and take a copy with you to each and every house you visit.    Also bring with you a camera.  If you fall in love with a home but with your checklist and photos show that the house doesn’t have any of the must-haves then at least it will make you rethink the purchase?

Budget For Housing Expenses:  When considering what you can don’t just consider the principal, interest, taxes and insurance.  You must take into account the amount you will spend on utilities, home improvement upgrades and costs to commute.  Can you afford the house, the extra expenses while living the life style you have become accustomed to?

Look Into The Neighborhood:  Check out the neighborhood.  Is it a neighborhood that is full of children and growing families?  Do you enjoy the chitter-chatter of kids or will it drive you crazy?  Is the neighborhood full of older adults whose families have grown?  Did you plan on having kids?  Will the lifestyle you are considering for your future fit within the existing neighborhood?

Look Beyond The Staging: We all think we are smart enough that we will not fall for the tricks that are used in staging however the psychology of staging works.  Homes look better when they are occupied.  When you are truly looking to say yes to a home it is important to remove the staging setup from your mind and consider your belongings in the layout of the home. Just because lights are sitting on the nightstands doesn’t mean that there are plugs there to go with it.  Staging can play games with your emotions.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Tips For First Time Home Buyers

As a first time home buyer you often don’t have any idea what to expect.  In this installment we will establish steps to take in order to determine if you are ready to take the plunge into home ownership.

Consider the area that you are looking at buying.  Check out the selling price of comparable homes in the area.  You can do this by looking at the MLS listings in the area or on a number of online real estate websites.

Find an online mortgage calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payments.  Many realtors have bankrate home loan calculators on their sites in order to allow clients to estimate the payment they can expect monthly on various mortgage amounts.

After you have determined an approximate monthly mortgage payment it is important to look into the total monthly costs to operate the home including taxes and insurance.  In some situations homeowners have found that the money going into escrow can often double the monthly payment amount.

Determine how much your mortgage lender requires in closing costs.  The upfront expenses of the home loan should never be overlooked.  Closing costs can include a variety of fees including: origination fees, title fees, settlement fees, taxes, homeowner association fees and other prepaid expenses.

Consider your budget and consider how the house fits into the puzzle.  Most lenders recommend that homebuyers spend no more than twenty eight percent of their take home income on the cost of housing.  When buyers move upwards to thirty percent they take a chance on being house poor.  Being house poor means that you no longer have extra funds to spend on anything other than your home.  This is a risky spot to be in and should not be considered a way of life for the long term.

Talk to a local realtor to discuss the climate of real estate within the area that you are interested.  Do they believe that the area and housing prices will continue to increase, will the decrease or will they stabilize?  There is no guarantees on the housing market but the trends of the past can help indicate future behavior.

Consider the larger picture of homeownership.  Buying a home is a super investment and great way to build wealth.  First time homebuyers need to understand that maintaining this investment can be not only be intensive labor wise but also on your budget.  It is important to remember that no longer can expenses be passed off to the landlord.  When something breaks down it is yours and yours alone to fix.

These are just a few of the things for first time homebuyers to look at before they buy a home.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Hot Trends When Purchasing a Home In 2016

It is important for both buyers and sellers to keep up with the latest trends in home improvements.  What was popular a year ago, let alone ten years ago may drastically change the way a home is viewed within the game of real estate.  Really think about the trends that were present in homes we were raised in verse what is popular now.

Shag carpeting, colored appliances, laminate flooring, formica countertops and gold fixtures were all the rage and a house with all five of these hot button trends would fly off the market.  Try to sell that same house now and it would sit forever waiting for the right buyer to come along only after the seller had dropped the asking price significantly.  This is just one of the many reasons it is important to keep up on the trends present within the home improvement and real estate arenas.

Trendy Kitchen Ideas

In real estate the kitchen is arguably the most important room within a home.  In order to get top dollar from the sale of your home it is important to keep up on popular upgrades to the space.  The following are just a few things that are trending in kitchen designs and upgrades for 2016:

  • Kitchen islands with additional work space and seating.
  • Dark cabinetry that are enhanced with other materials such as glass and metal.
  • Uncommon countertop materials like exotic stones, hand poured cement or granite.
  • Wine coolers that are built in.
  • Stainless steel, top of the line appliances that include all the bells and whistles.
  • Double ovens, convection ovens and unconventional, six burner stove tops are incredibly trend with the increased popularity in preparing culinary delights at home.

Trending Designs For Bathrooms

  • Glass and stone are both popular material choices in bathroom updates in 2016. Consider a blend of natural, raw materials when upgrading bathroom spaces.
  • Vessel sinks, paired with antique inspired vanities are offering a classically, modern spin on creating a retreat in your very own home.
  • Chrome fixtures are being replaced for brushed nickel.
  • Showers are a more popular option then bathtubs. Deck out your extended shower space with multiple faucets, dual showerheads and hand held sprayers.  Upgraded fixtures and faucets are attractive to homeowners that are ready to move into a space without any DIY updates to contend with.
  • Another popular feature in bathrooms to consider in upgrades is the installation of automatic lighting.

Trends in home improvements aren’t anything new.  It is important to follow up with trends in the housing market especially if you are a seller looking to sell your homewithin the next five years.  You can never go wrong in home improvement with simple, classic updates enhanced with easily replaceable accessories that follow trends.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Attracting Home Buyers During The Hot Fall Real Estate Season

Autumn is literally right around the corner.  The kids are back in school, the weather is becoming a bit more bearable and there is downtime between summer vacations and the holidays.  There is no doubt why fall is the second best season in real estate especially when it comes to selling your home.  Not only do the colors start to explode amongst the trees, for sale signs also start to reappear.  Below you will find some of our top tips to help sellers attract autumn home buyers.

Shape Up the Landscape

In order to attract buyers a home must appear well maintained inside and out.  Make sure to take time to rake up fallen leaves and clean debris before it settles.  Overgrown vegetation should be trimmed including small bushes and large trees around the home.  Dead flowers should be cut down and prepared for next spring and vine growth should be eliminated to enhance the exterior of your home.

Create an Autumn Atmosphere

Curb appeal is everything when it comes to selling your home for top dollar.  One way to enhance the feeling of warmth and fall is add a little bit of it to your home.  Take advantage of the beauty that comes from all things fall like corn stalks, pumpkins and mums.  Accent walkways and entrances to add to the fall appeal.

Window Washing

Everyone considers spring cleaning however the momentum often dies going into the fall season.  When looking to sell your home during the fall real estate season it is beneficial to thoroughly was dusty, streaked windows.   Clean off pet prints and wipe down window ledges.  The little details may not get noticed when they are on point but if they are left uncared for you can guarantee that buyers will take note.

HVAC Maintenance

Just as homeowners take time to have central air conditioning system evaluated at the beginning of the spring season, heating systems should be checked as well at the beginning of fall.  You will want your home to smell clean and dust free.  A dirty heating system says a lot about your home that you don’t want it to.  Replace furnace filters, have vents cleaned and do the yearly maintenance that needs to be done to ensure your system is running efficiently and clean.

Prepare Fall Edibles

The scent of fall is quiet attractive and should be used to your advantage during open houses and home visits.  Fresh apple cider smells, pumpkin spice cupcakes or leaf cut out cookies left out on the counter are all ways to welcome guests into your home.  People looking to purchase a home want it to be warm, cozy and inviting.  Make sure that appeal is what they feel when they first arrive.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Home Buying and Selling in 2016

When it comes to selling a house in today’s market many sellers are in for a culture shock.  Today’s buyers are different than they were five years ago.  Buyers are demanding.  In this technology savvy world we live in buyers want to see homes when their schedule permits.  It is no longer about the seller and creating the perfect ambiance for selling a home; today’s buyers want convenience and they aren’t about to wait for an open house to get what they want.  Long gone are the days of baking cookies and creating the perfect, warm home introduction.

When you decide to sell your home the first step that you should make is to call in a trusted professional.  Real estate agents help to eliminate the emotional aspect of the transaction.  This greatly improves the chance of a quick sale.  Below is a sample action plan that most realtors will use when working with you to sell your home.

One debate that exists is if a seller should buy a new home before they have sold theirs.  Is it necessary to carry two mortgages?  The answer is no.  Sell your home before you buy a new one.  A few scenarios’ can play out all of which are better than paying two mortgages.  Many buyers are willing to work with a seller if they need additional time in the home by renting it back to the seller for a few months while they find a new home.  Another option that is common is a short term rental.  The one thing you are looking to avoid is buying a home contingent on the sale of yours especially in a market where you are up against other bidders.

No longer are the good ole days of throwing a for sale sign in the yard and calling it a day.  Homes don’t get sold unless they are properly marketed.  Buyers are looking for photos, videos, floor plans, staging ideas and more.  They are looking at homes online and through social media.  Long gone are the days of Sunday drive by’s where buyers are deciding which homes to look at.  If they don’t see what they want to out of the online marketing campaign you and your realtor have set up then you won’t have to worry about setting up a time for them to see the house in person.

Selling a home today requires buyers to have immediate access to have their questions answered immediately.  Without a solid internet presence and marketing plan in place your home will sit stale on the market for months waiting for those far and few between drive-by buyers.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Avoiding The Challenges That Come With Selling Your Home

It can be a challenge to sell your home.  This is especially true in a market saturated with homes for sale.  When buyers have lots of options available to them they don’t have to buy what you are selling.  If your home is just one of a million available on the market today it is crucial that you aren’t sloppy when putting it up for sale.

Don’t price your home out of the market:  You know what you paid for your home when you bought it and you know what you have invested into but that doesn’t mean you know how much it should sell for.  Your house is not worth a penny more than what the market is willing to purchase it for.  The market may have gone up or it may have gone down since you initially purchased your home.  When setting an asking price for your home it is important that you don’t overprice your home.  A home that has a high asking price may discourage parties that are interested in making an offer.  Your goal is to sell your home not show it for six months.  Take into consideration homes that are comparable to yours and be willing to set an asking price that is equivalent.

Don’t go it alone: There are a number of mistakes that can be made in any real estate transaction.  Without the proper understanding of exactly what is entailed in selling your home it is wise to hire a professional realtor to guide you through the process.  Working with a local real estate agent is helpful in a number of ways.  First, they are familiar with the local area, the selling price of similar homes in the area and know a reasonable offer when it is given. They have experience on counter offers and can help you negotiate a contract that is fair and appropriate for the market you are in.

Another benefit of using a real estate agent when selling your home is the additional marketing tools and connections that have available to them.  Selling your home in a competitive market is much more than just sticking a sign in the yard and watching buyers come pouring in.  Today real estate is all about marketing.  Your home needs to be on the internet throughout social media, video tours and public open house advertisements with additional pictures of the home.  Sellers can no longer get by on putting a sign in the yard, word of mouth and drive-by’s.

The process of selling your home can be emotional.  A real estate agent can help you through the sentimental aspect while understanding the business side.  With the right price and proper marketing your home has the potential to have a number of buyers interested before it is even officially listed by the real estate agent.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Don’t Fall For Staging Tricks When Buying A New Home

In our last installment on buying a home we discussed how many buyers turn down a house if it lacks visual appeal.  Instead of only looking at a home for its aesthetic values it is crucial that homeowners look deeper into the bones of a home.  The condition of homes foundation and structure are the most important aspects to consider.  The following aspects can also tell you a lot about how the homes you are looking at have been maintained and cared for.

How does the plumbing throughout the home look?  Check out the water and the pressure of the water pressure.  Turn on all of the faucets all at one time and check to see their output.  Inspect the pipes to ensure they are not lead while also looking at the current insulation.  Pipes can easily be insulated using preformed insulation but it is important to know what will need to be done ahead of time.  Pipes that are in crawl spaces must be insulated as well as plumbing that is on the other side of exterior walls, often seen in kitchens.  Check the hot water heater and tank, boiler and radiator.  These are all good indicators of the updates that have or have not been done to the homes plumbing.

How well insulated is the home.  When you are inside the home is the traffic easily heard throughout the home?  Can you hear a lot of outside noise such as children playing?  This may not seem like a big deal at the time but poor insulation is not all about the annoyance of extra outside noise.  If a home is not properly insulated against the sounds of the world around it then it most likely is not apt to hold in heat or air conditioning.

Realtors advise buyers to check out the homes attic space as well.  Check for fire and water damage as both can lead to a structure that is weakened.   If you can see any light from within the attic, through even pin hole sized points it is crucial to make note of these.  If you purchase the home these areas need to be caulked to prevent water from accessing the area and leaking into the home causing damage to ceilings.  Is the attic easy to access?  Can the space be turned into something usable like an office or spare bedroom?  What about storage or extra insulation?

There is so much more to a home than what buyers can see however this is a hard concept for realtors to get across to a visual buyer.  A home that is painted with wickedly wild colors and covered in crazy bright carpet is a whole lot cheaper to repair than a home with a faulty foundation or unstable roof.  Remember this as it is easy to become caught up in the way something looks.  Professionals in staging can turn a home that hasn’t been maintained into a beauty with a few tricks of the trade. Don’t fall prey to this.  Instead keep your eyes open and look for things we have mentioned in these latest installments.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Don’t Get Caught Up In Curb Appeal When Purchasing A New Home

When it comes to purchasing a new home many buyers get caught up in the visual aspects of the home.  This is a mistake that often hurts buyers.  Instead of seeing the potential in a home they are driven off by brightly colored walls or unconventional flooring.  In reality these aspects are easily changed.  Instead staging often fools buyers and they forget that beauty is only skin deep allowing them to forget about the costly realities like roofing, electricity, plumbing and foundation.

Real estate professionals often warn clients from making mistakes like this but fall on deaf ears.  To prevent the same mistake from happening to you consider the following when considering a home to purchase.  Even the ugliest of ducklings can have the makings of a castle given the shape of the homes foundation, roofing and a fundamentally strong structure.

Consider the shape of the homes windows.  Realtors stress that it is important for buyers to look at the external state of the windows over their age.  New windows that are installed incorrectly are far less attractive as older, sturdier windows that have been well maintained.  If the exterior of the windows are in good shape it is a great indicator of the condition and level of maintenance that the current homeowner showed the home.  If you push on the window and can easily push the window frame in at all then it means the windows are starting to rot.  If the windows are double hung and you can visually see any sort of condensation the windows are faulty.

The roof is also an important aspect when looking into purchasing a home.  An asphalt shingle roof has a life expectancy of between fifteen and twenty years.  If you are unsure of when the roof was last replaced it is best to have a professional roofer out to inspect any homes you are interested in.  A professional roofer will know what to look for to age a home roof.  Certain things buyers can see themselves such as if the roof has a bunch of missing shingles or if there is substantial curling that can be seen on the shingles.  These are all signs the roof will need to be immediately replaced.  If this is the case be sure to negotiate the expense of a new roof into the purchase price of the home.

Another item a buyer often over look is the homes electrical system and power sources.  Electrical wiring that is not done by a professional electrician leaves a lot of room for error.  Improperly ran electrical wiring is dangerous.  Check out the shape of the fuse box and test the circuit breaker to ensure that it is functioning properly.  Rewiring a home is a messy and expensive job to undertake.  It is often a job that new homeowners are not looking to involve themselves in.

In our next installment we will continue to look into the items often overlooked by buyers as they concentrate on the less important visual aspects of a home.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Time and Patience Needed When Buying A New Home

The entire process of buying a home takes time and patience.  Home buyers are excited and often times a bit overenthusiastic to get into the home of their dreams.  This fanatical excitement can often leave home buyers to sabotage their real estate agents efforts at getting their client a home of their dreams.  When working with a realtor here are some things to be aware of to ensure a smooth home buying process.  Creating a relationship of mutual understanding between realtor and client is essential for buyers to get the home of their dreams.

Are You Guilty of Sabotaging Your New Home Dreams?

One mistake many buyers make is that they care too much about the homes aesthetics.  Professional real estate agents are happy to show you just as many houses as desire until you find the one that is perfect for you.  The problem is that many buyers can only see the beauty as it is and forget that the splendor of any home is more than meets the eye.  Initially, it may be tempting to get caught up in how the house currently looks however a house that is out of date, dirty or in need of some small handyman repairs buyers are often tempted to run and continue their search elsewhere.

Buyers should consider this instead:

The cost of improvements that need to be done to the home can be negotiated into the closing deal.  It can even be set up that the minor fixes that you would like to see done can be included in the details of the contract.

Another common mistake is that buyers often show their hand and give away any ability to negotiate.  Your comfort with your real estate agent is crucial however don’t let it get in the way of making the best deal possible with the seller.  It has happened before; many buyers start talking a bit too much when looking at homes and sellers overhear their criticisms.  When this occurs it could hurt the entire negotiation process.

When you find the home you love don’t make the mistake of waiting too long to put an offer on the table.  In a competitive real estate market there isn’t a lot of time to wait to make an offer.   Nothing drives a real estate agent nuttier than knowing they have found their buyer the perfect home and yet they aren’t ready to commit.  If you find a home you are in love with put an offer in, get the negotiation process started and begin planning for your future.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that buying a home is all about money.  Yes a large offer looks appealing but a lower offer with few contingencies and the perfect timing can appear even more tempting.

It is important to listen to your real estate agent throughout the entire process.  When you discuss with them what you want and need they are listening to you.  They are the professionals and this is what you are paying them for.  Be sure to put your faith in them, take to heart their advice and allow them to guide you down the path to homeownership.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.